Tata Steel (formerly Corus) has today announced it is investing £6.5 million in new high-tech equipment at its Stocksbridge plant, South Yorkshire, to increase production of aerospace steels.
The company will install two vacuum arc remelting furnaces and specialist testing equipment to allow it to make more special steels for the aerospace industry. The new equipment will boost Tata Steel’s output of these steels by 30%. It will also lead to about 10 new jobs.
Peter Hogg, General Manager of Tata Steel Speciality, said: “This investment will make us stronger and help secure the jobs of 2,000 South Yorkshire steelworkers. It’s a big confidence boost.”
The aircraft industry is forecast to grow strongly in coming years to cater for increased passenger numbers in emerging economies, an increase in global air freight and the introduction of new fuel-efficient planes.
Peter said: “As the demand for aerospace steel increases, it’s vital we have the ability to increase our production of this highly technical and demanding product, which is used in aircraft landing gear, engines, wings and other safety-critical components.
“Customers want higher-quality, higher-strength and superior-performance steels. This investment demonstrates our commitment to continue supplying steel to the most demanding applications in the world.
“We have 60 years’ experience of making steel for aircraft. As well as expanding to meet the needs of our existing customers in established markets like North America, we want to win more orders in emerging markets like China and India.”
Vacuum arc remelting (VAR) furnaces improve the chemical and mechanical properties of steel so it meets the exacting standards of the world’s most demanding applications, such as energy exploration and generation, as well as aerospace.
The two new VAR furnaces will be installed alongside seven existing VAR furnaces and two electroslag remelting (ESR) furnaces at the Stocksbridge plant. The new furnaces will be operational by winter 2011/12. Additional ultrasonic and mechanical testing equipment will also be installed in Stocksbridge over the coming months to ensure exacting quality standards continue to be met.
The steel is manufactured at the company’s Rotherham site before undergoing further refining at the Stocksbridge plant to improve the quality. Tata Steel employs about 2,250 people in South Yorkshire, including 250 researchers and engineers at its technology centre in Rotherham.
In April 2009 Tata Steel opened a service centre in Suzhou, China to supply aerospace steel products to the country’s growing aircraft industry. And earlier this year Tata Steel recruited more than 300 people into its South Yorkshire business to support operations.
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About Tata Steel Europe
Tata Steel Europe (formerly Corus) is Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations in the UK and the Netherlands, the company supplies steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, material handling and other demanding markets worldwide.
It is a subsidiary of Tata Steel, one of the world’s top ten steel producers. The combined group has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.